Story creation with the developmentally challenged
We all have a story to tell, a fantasy world within us and the desire to create.
One of my students once told me that his greatest wish in life was to be able to communicate better. When I asked what was needed for that to occur he gave me a three-pronged reply:
– that he be given enough time to tell his story
– people listened to what he had to say
– he was looked in the eye so, he didn’t feel overlooked
That about sums it up so, let’s get the story started!1) Begin with a small group in a room where you can close the door.
2) Speak with each person in the group beforehand regarding their interests.
3) Upload photos of said interests; sports cars, food, horses, high fashion or whatever it is that tickles their fancy and print several pages with four to six photos on them.
4) If a group member is blind, describe the pictures and they’ll work as a frame of reference with regards to initiating the story.
5) Establish a “hero for the day” rotation. Hero for the day, is the person who is key to the story focal point for that day’s session. They’re the one who kicks off a session by choosing a photo, word, or phrase, that you, along with the rest of the group, use to develop a story.
6) Make sure there’s a fair rotation, everyone gets a chance and that sufficient time is allotted for each person present to feel heard.
7) Make a story circle so, each person feels they are equally important to the group.
8) Ask that day’s hero to select a photo by speaking, nodding, shaking their head, rolling their eyes up to indicate yes or down to say no – whichever way it works for them.

You are the facilitator! You help them launch the story and keep up the momentum. Ask questions, weave story bits together and work hard to include everyone. Anything goes, fantasy wise, as long as it’s not hurtful. Learn how to develop and spark the creativity of those in your class and respect their story choices no matter how bizarre. It doesn’t have to be logical but it should be fun! We usually end up laughing and having a great time.Make sure everyone gets the chance to contribute and that members of the story circle help their colleagues who have difficulty communicating.
Each person should feel valued.
Win their trust by respecting their story and you’ll all end up having great fun!

annalia3@gmail.com
Extras:
*You can write down the stories they’ve developed and print a compilation for the group members, that they can take home and share with their families, carers and friends.
* Hold a story event at your club or center and help them tell their stories to an audience of friends, family and admirers.